Warrant: Logo on heroin bag provides clue in death of St. Charles woman

  • Joseph P. Pryor

    Joseph P. Pryor

 
 
Updated 8/8/2018 1:42 PM

A logo on a small plastic bag used for heroin sales could turn out to be a vital clue in the death of a St. Charles woman this summer.

Joseph P. Pryor, of the 2000 block of Westridge Boulevard, Bartlett, was being held at the Kane County jail on heroin charges, and is under investigation for possibly providing a lethal dose of heroin to a Katherine A. Gehlhaar, 30, who died July 6, according to court records.

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Pryor, who served prison time after a 2010 arrest for dealing Ecstasy, was arrested July 11 after a traffic stop for talking on his cellphone while headed south on Route 25 near Red Gate Road near St. Charles, records show.

A logo on small bags used to transport and sell heroin clued officers in on Pryor's possible involvement in Gehlhaar's death, according to an affidavit used to secure a search warrant for his cellphone.

In the traffic stop, as Pryor reached into his center console for his driver's license and proof of insurance, the officer saw small plastic bags containing a white powdery substance and a hypodermic needle, according to the affidavit.

Pryor, according to the affidavit, admitted the substance was heroin, but for personal use. He also told the officer there were seven more bags of heroin hidden in a screwdriver handle in his vehicle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Overall, 2.8 grams of heroin were seized and each of the bags had a basketball or a blue star logo on them, according to the affidavit. Pryor admitted to authorities to helping Gehlhaar obtain heroin July 5; she died the next day of an overdose and plastic bags with the same designs were found with her, according to the affidavit.

"Joseph admitted that Katherine died from the narcotics provided by his drug source. He also advised the bags likely had the basketball and/or blue star logos," read part of the affidavit.

Kane County Chief Deputy Coroner Loren Carrera said an autopsy was performed July 6. The case is still open, she said, pending an investigation and evaluation of toxicology results and no official cause of death has been determined.

So far, Pryor is charged with two felonies from the July 11 traffic stop, the most serious of which is manufacture/delivery of one to 15 grams of heroin; he is not charged with drug-induced homicide, a felony punishable by six to 30 years in prison.

According to county court records, Pryor was sentenced to seven years in prison after an August 2010 arrest in which he met an undercover officer at a bar on the 500 block of Randall Road in St. Charles. Pryor delivered 100 Ecstasy pills to the officer and as police moved in, fled the scene in his car, crashed and was arrested after a short foot chase.

Pryor's next court appearance is Aug. 21. He was being held on $75,000 bail. If convicted of the most severe charge, he faces four to 15 years in prison.

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